What’s the deal with eggs and high cholesterol?

Posted on January 9, 2012

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This is covered ad nauseam on the internet. Therefore, I’m not going to go into a ton of detail. I’m going to try and present a few useful guidelines for eggs and cholesterol in your diet.

Like many things on the internet, this is only discussed in extremes. The first: “OH MY GOD NEVER TOUCH EGGS YOU’RE GOING TO KILL YOURSELF!!!!!“

The other: “Pshhh I eat a dozen eggs a day and my cholesterol is perfect. Suck on that egg haters. Eggs are the second coming of Christ.” Some of these people even assert eating more eggs per day will decrease cholesterol levels.

As with most people speaking in extremes, both groups are speaking out of their ass.

From as best as I can tell, here’s what you need to know: Dietary cholesterol, aka cholesterol you eat, affects your cholesterol levels very little. If you have good cholesterol levels adding a couple of eggs per day isn’t going to change your levels much, if at all. If you have high cholesterol and eat a couple of eggs a day, taking those eggs out without any other diet changes isn’t going to matter much.

Getting specific:

If you already have high cholesterol eating an extra 100 mg a day will increase your cholesterol points by 2.5 An egg has 200 mg of cholesterol so eating an extra egg a day will increase your cholesterol by 5 points.

If you have normal cholesterol levels this effect appears to be less, if not non-existent. Basically not worth worrying about.

So say you’re someone who has a cholesterol level of 300 and you eat 3 eggs per day. Taking those eggs out of your diet will, at best, decrease your cholesterol level to 285. Still dramatically far from a healthy range.

At the end of the day, if you’re someone who has high cholesterol you’re probably someone with a good amount of weight to lose. If you’re worrying about how many eggs you eat per day you’re really missing the big picture. Eat less calories; go from there.

Adding to that: If you’re someone who has high cholesterol, I think adding eggs to your diet in the hopes of decreasing your cholesterol is pretty asinine. Eat less calories; go from there.

Get fancy when you need to. The benefit of that approach is most people never need to.

If you’re curious the specific numbers are from this incredibly unnecessarily detailed paper: The impact of egg limitations on coronary heart disease risk: Do the numbers add up?

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Posted in: Losing weight